A Thought From the Other Side
While doing research for this EmissionsTax.org, I had the opportunity to speak with a gentleman that was featured in an environmental documentary about my plan for the formation of this organization . When I told him of my surprise that no one has tackled this issue with the specific label of “Emissions Tax”, he immediately replied “No one likes taxes.”
This is true, no one likes taxes (well, most people don’t like taxes). Still, we pay them everyday – from sales tax, property tax, income tax, capital gains tax, corporate profits tax, meals and room tax, medicare and social security tax, fuel tax and many others. Benjamin Franklin said it best, proclaiming “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Why We Pay Taxes
Taxes fund Federal, State and Local governments and public projects across the world.
This funding is used to sustain roads, bridges and other infrastructure that communities need to thrive. Taxes pay for our military, police, fire departments, schools, health care, research and regulation. Society would crumble without tax revenues, and even recently, effects are being felt in first world countries such as Greece.
Taxes Change Behavior
Another, often overlooked function of taxation is to change behaviors. Whether you call it a “Sin Tax” or “Excise/Use” tax, individuals and businesses generally avoid paying taxes. The rich avoid income taxes by earning their money through long term capital gains (stocks and other investments), which are currently taxed at the much lower rate of 15% in the US.
Many believe that our high corporate profits tax, as high as 38%, leads large, profitable companies to move their headquarters to countries with lower rates like Ireland, which boasts rates of 12.5% and 25%, depending on type of income.
Taxing to Incentivize & Fund Projects
Governments have used Tax Incentives for a long time to help foster growth and pay for projects that create jobs and benefit their society. When a city exempts a professional sports team from taxes to help them bring in a new stadium or you, that tax incentive is expected to generate additional tax revenues or reduce shared costs and such.
A basic concept of modern economics says that price can influence supply and demand. Since we humans love deals, a low price will increase demand. Companies love it too – the higher price they can receive for a product or service, the more of it they are willing to supply.
When you tax a good or service, the price goes up, and demand goes down. This doesn’t raise supply though, as companies don’t get that extra revenue. When you tax something like toxic emissions, you get less demand and funding for projects. Companies can invest in lowering their cost, hence lowering the tax liability and price, making the demand rise for that particular companies good or services.
Why Should We Love Taxes?
This may be a little to much to ask of anyone, I understand, however, when taxes are assessed properly and fairly, they can produce the right results, such as ending global warming and pollution.
Do you hate a hammer? Of course not, because a hammer is just a tool – and when used in the right situation, can be the only solution to the problem.
We have been working on environmental issues for over 50 years and have still not solved the crisis. We hope you will help us bring an #EmissionsTax to discussion to make our future on Earth sustainable.